Networking and prospecting. It’s something that is a lost art in the Automobile business today.
Back in the 1980’s, when I began my career in the automobile business, I used a “tickler file”. A “tickler file” was a series of 5X7 index cards that I used to keep track of my customers. I separated them using three different files. One file was sorted January through December. The second file was sorted by the number of days in the month, 1-31. The last file was sorted alphabetically, in case I needed to look up a certain customer quickly. It took a lot of time and effort to set up and sort these cards on a daily basis. I made my follow up phone calls based on these cards and I also mailed flyers out to these customers on a regular basis. It kept me in contact with my entire database of customers and allowed me to prospect new business. I spent several hours a day sorting, searching, calling and mailing these customers in an effort to generate additional business from the people that I had already done business with.
With the advancement of computers in the 1990’s, the computer generated “CRM” was born. These Customer Relationship Management tools were and are great for doing the daily tasks of sorting, calling and mailing current opportunities along with keeping in touch with your database of “sold” customers. In today’s automotive climate, one would be lost without a “CRM” tool.
The problem with the “Tickler file” of old and the “CRM” tool of the present, was and IS utilization of the information to network and prospect to perspective new customers. The Dealership relies on the Salespeople, Sales Managers and BDC’s to contact, call, mail, e-mail and text on a regular basis to generate more business. And while it is imperative that you do all of that activity, how can you market and advertise to all of your client’s relatives and friends? Sure, your client can talk about the great service or sales experience that they had at your dealership at a family and friends gathering. Your client can tell all of the people they work with about their great experience. But how can you impact ALL of their friends and family with a positive and lasting message??
What’s the answer? Social media!
Now let’s talk about one person’s, “circle of influence”. Your “circle of influence” is all of the people you speak with and interact with on a regular basis. Your “circle of influence” can be your family, your friends, your co-workers or even someone you do business with on a regular basis. You “influence” ALL of these people by relaying your experiences, good or bad, on what transpired in your life.
Let’s say you had a great meal and great service at the new restaurant that opened in town. The food was fantastic and the service was unbelievable! You would then tell all of the people in your “circle”, thus “influencing” them in a positive way that they should go to this restaurant. What if the opposite type of experience happened? You had a terrible meal and the service was lousy. You again would tell everyone about your experience in a negative way.
The size of an individuals “circle of influence” can be wide ranging. It can range from a small circle of 50 or so individuals to well into the 1000’s of people that one interacts with on a regular basis. It all depends on the size of someone’s family, the amount of friends they have or the size of the Company they work for.
For the sake of this article and “easy math’, lets use a total of 100 people that an individual has in their circle of influence. (How many “friends” do you have in your Facebook account?). If each individual has 100 people in their “circle of influence’ and each of those 100 people had 100 people in their “circle of influence” you have the ability to touch 10,000 people, (100 x 100 = 10,000) consistently.
By using Social Media to market and advertise, you can go from one customer to 10,000 in an instant!
The power is YOURS to engage these people!
This article is from my contribution to the publication, “The Social Dealership”
Here is a link to the article in the publication:
About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.
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